Join the Writing Pad community!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Surprise! - Writing Prompt 3/31/10

By Amy Robinson

Whip your writing practice into shape with one of Writing Pad's bootie-kicking writing workshops. Sign up before the spots are all gone by calling 323-333-2954.

Writing Prompt: Have you ever been surprised with something totally unexpected? For example, I was surprised when I found out my Mother-In-Law was coming to live with us. Write out a list of 5 times you have been suprised (good or bad). Pick one and write about it for 10 minutes. Then post it in the comments of this blog!

Comment on this blog! What was a huge surprise in your life (or your character's life)? Post a sentence or a mini-story. You could win a free class!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bad Guys and Great Writing - Villains, Geniuses, and Schemers

By Amy Robinson

Join us for devious plotting, gourmet snacking, and movie watching at Writing Pad on Saturday, April 17th!

Film critic and freelance writer, Tim Grierson, will be teaching Villians, Geniuses, and Schemers: Awesome Antagonists and Conflict, a writing class to help you create the perfect villain for your screenplay, novel, memoir, or short story. The brilliant and devious Salieri of Amadeus, will provide inspiration for our antagonists.

Also, check out Tim’s recent LA Weekly article that revisits the genius of Amadeus in comparison to this year's Oscar fare. Call 323-333-2954 to sign up for this fantastic class!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Writing Prompt 3/24/2010: Chores

By Amy Robinson
Forget about your chores and start writing! Secure your spot in one of our new April writing classes by calling 323-333-2954 or emailing

Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 chores that you hate to do that you must do every day. Be specific. Pick one and write about it for ten minutes. For example, one of the items on my list is washing dishes. Dirty dishes seem to multiply like Easter bunnies. It feels like I am constantly washing plates and forks! What chore do you (or your character) do daily that is unpleasant but must be done? Remember to post your writing in the comments!

Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when you think of the word, "chores?" Post your short write on this blog, and you could win a free class!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Writing Prompt 3/18/10--High School Daze

By Marilyn Friedman

Sharpen your writing skills AND infuse your free time with fun and deliciousness! Snatch up the last available spots in these March classes by calling 323-333-2954 or emailing

Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 things that come to mind when you think of the words, "High School." Pick one and write whatever comes to mind for 10 minutes. For instance, one thing that is on my list is the word: locker. So I'll write about lockers for 10 minutes. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when you think of the words, "High School?" Post your short write on this blog, and you could win a free class!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Novel Journey with Jeff Turrentine

by Halie Rosenberg

If you've ever thought about writing a novel, you're not alone. Here at Writing Pad many of us are working on such a feat, including journalist and critic, Jeff Turrentine. Jeff has been a contributing writer and editor at Architectural Digest magazine since 2006, and he's reviewed dozens of novels and short-story collections for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

When Jeff decided to write his own novel, he called Writing Pad! Well actually, Jeff's wife bought him the five week So You Want To Be a Writer (SYWBW) class series as a birthday gift! He liked the classes and Adel's delicious soup shooters so much that he came back for a second session. Jeff workshopped parts of his novel during the SYWBW classes and came away with usable insights. "The feedback from Marilyn, and the rest of the group, was very helpful."

Writing Pad helped Jeff muzzle his inner critic. "I've reviewed scores of novels over the years, and by now I'm so hyper-conscious of how good (and bad) stories are constructed that it has become quite difficult for me to let go of my inner critic and just keep writing." To combat this, Jeff reminds himself of Writing Pad's number one rule: "sitting down and simply writing, immediately and unself-consciously, without worrying at that moment about whether it's any good or not. The class taught me that what you're able to get down in those first few minutes of spontaneous writing, however unpolished it may be, often contains the embryos of your characters, plot, tone, etc."

Jeff is currently completing his novel which is a three part story set in Dallas, Texas about the breakdown of utopian political visions. One part takes place in the 1850s, one part in the 1950s, and one part in the very near future. Fascinating! You can check out some of Jeff's amazing reviews at The New York Times, The Washington Post and Slate.

And don't hesitate to let us know if you have a recommendation for our next Writing Pad Awesome Alum!

Writing Prompt 3/10/10--Getting Caught Prompt

By Marilyn Friedman

Our March classes are filling up fast. Snatch up the last available spots by calling 323-333-2954 or emailing before they are full! Here's the latest on what's happening at the Pad:

Writing Prompt: Make a list of 3 times you got caught doing something (or your character got caught doing something). For example, did your parents ever catch you sneaking back in the house after curfew? Or maybe you were pulled over by a cop and received a speeding ticket? Pick one item off of your list and write about it for ten minutes. Have fun with it!

Post on the comments of this blog! What did you (or your character) get caught doing? If you post in the comment section of this blog, you could win a free class!

Friday, March 5, 2010

February Comment Contest Winner

By Marilyn Friedman

March classes are filling up fast! Snatch up the last available spots by calling 323-333-2954 or emailing before they are full!

Now, the news you all have been waiting for--our February comment contest winner is Kristina Petro!

When asked about her favorite place to write, Kristina said,
"My favorite place to write is in my bedroom on Sunday mornings. I love waking up early and getting cozy with my laptop and a steaming mug of coffee. It's a relaxing, stress free space to write and it gets me energized for the upcoming week. "

Sounds fantastic! Congratulations, Kristina. You can check out her hilarious story about sibling torture here:

There are also many wonderful stories from February at these links. I so enjoyed them. You can check them out in the comment sections of the writing prompts:

Please keep on commenting folks. The comment contest is on again for March!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Writing Prompt: 3/3/10

By Marilyn Friedman

Writing Pad has wonderful classes coming up in March! Sign up by calling 323-333-2954 or emailing before they are full. Make your blog kick ass with this all day class:

Get inspired to write a 3 page short piece that is "World Wide Web" related. Aaron will help you make sure that it entertains and impresses, and he'll give you feedback on one draft.

Now here's your writing prompt, which is also World Wide Web related. Have fun with it!

Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 things that come to mind when you think of the word, "Internet." Pick one and write about it for 10 minutes. Then post the results of the comments of this blog. You could win a free class!

Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when you think of the word, "Internet?" Put your 10 minute write (or just a sentence) in the comments, and you will be entered in the March contest for a free class. Marilyn will also respond with what she likes and remembers about what you write.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dive into Chocolate - Adel's Easy March Recipe

By Adel Aschenbrener/Amy Robinson

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, a delectable writing exercise, and an eye-rolling, amazing chocolate dessert--that is all you need to survive. Luckily, we have tasty Writing Pad classes and Adel (pictured here) is whipping up all new gourmet treats for the March workshops! Her lemon panna cotta will fuel your senses and inspire your writing:

Sign up by calling 323-333-2954 or emailing Classes are filling up fast!

For her March recipe, Adel feeds your wanton desire for a warm winter dessert. Here she shares a simply divine recipe for Classic Molten Chocolate Cakes for Two.

Get out your ramekins and feed that chocolate monkey on your back!

Adel says:
"My husband and I usually keep Valentine's Day pretty low key. We might have burgers and a bottle of wine, a bacon chocolate bar, or just skip the celebration altogether. This year, we shucked some oysters, cracked open a couple beers and settled in for a night of catching up with the old DVR.

We were halfway through watching 'The Best Thing I Ever Ate - Chocolate' when I found myself in the midst of an undeniable chocolate attack. I simply had to get up and make this dessert, which was featured on show. It took just minutes to throw together and ended up being the perfect warm, gooey, romantic treat for us to share."

Jean George's Classic Molten Chocolate Cakes for Two
1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter
3 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used Vahlrona Manjari)

1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
All-purpose flour or cocoa powder for dusting ramekins

Preheat your oven to 450°F. Butter and lightly flour 2, 6-ounce ramekins (use cocoa powder for a gluten-free version). Set the ramekins on a baking sheet.

Melt the butter with the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water. You can also microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the egg yolks, sugar and salt until thickened and pale. You can use an electric mixer, but come on, it's only two eggs, and muscles are sexy! When the mixture has turned the color of butter and barely begins to hold a shape, it's ready.

Stir the chocolate and butter until smooth. Quickly and gently fold it into the egg mixture. Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins and bake for 12 minutes, or until the sides of the cakes are firm but the centers are soft.

Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 1 minute, then cover each with an inverted dessert plate. Carefully turn each one over, let stand for 10 seconds and then unmold. Serve immediately, preferably with whipped cream or ice cream.